Remote Physiological Monitoring, Autonomous Vehicles and Wellbeing Studentship

An opportunity for a fully-funded PhD studentship, to be co-funded by UWE Bristol and Airbus Group Innovations (AGI), Newport UK (subject to contract).

Closing date for applications is Monday 30 January 2017.

About the studentship

The successful applicant will have a unique and exciting opportunity to join a multidisciplinary research team working on developing remote physiological monitoring as part of our flagship research projects into autonomous vehicles (AVs): Venturer and Flourish.  Planned research will include comparing data from conventional contact electrode recording of human state, including stress and wellbeing, alongside novel contactless optical recording and working with Brain Computer Interface (BCI) equipment. 

This applied research will directly influence the future development of technology for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), as well as having wider applications for health and wellbeing monitoring amongst older adults and other populations with mobility needs. It will also inform future initiatives for assessing front-line emergency service personnel during operations (e.g. ambulance and fire crew).

The successful applicant will be based at UWE Bristol in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences and will become a member of the Centre for Research in Biosciences (CRIB) and the new Psychological Science Research Group (PSRG). They will be part of a thriving and active postgraduate student community working with a range of senior academics in cross-faculty teams including PSRG, the internationally recognised Bristol Robotics Laboratory - BRL (UWE-Bristol and University of Bristol), and the Centre for Transport and Society - CTS (UWE-Bristol). They will also work with Airbus (AGI) in Newport, South Wales or Bristol, who are key partners in this multidisciplinary human state monitoring initiative, gaining research experience and support with advanced data processing and data driven technologies.

This PhD forms part of our Innovate UK Flourish CAV project involving leading industry partners and public bodies. These well supported initiatives aim to establish the UK as a leader in CAV development and research, with Bristol planning to become a regional hub for CAVs during their development over the next 20 years. It is hoped that this project will provide the basis for further research collaboration between AGI and UWE Bristol and lead to future opportunities for the successful applicant (e.g. post-doctoral and beyond).

The aims of this project are to:

  1. Develop prototypes for contactless human state monitoring (eg optical monitoring of heart rate, pupillometry and skin temperature)
  2. Assess the utility of remote human state monitoring of physiological parameters in comparison to conventional contact electrode recording methods
  3. Undertake studies of human state monitoring during CAV simulator, virtual reality, and later real world trials, investigating both younger and older populations
  4. Investigate the use of physiological monitoring, including EEG, in interactive technologies such as BCIs
  5. Demonstrate the utility of human state monitoring of stress and wellbeing, and application to real world environments including long-term monitoring of daily life, and operational assessment of front-line personnel.

Funding details

The studentship is available from 1 April 2017 and consists of an annual tax-free stipend of £14,296 subject to satisfactory progress, for three years. In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for three years.

The studentship will only fully fund applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees. Applicants who are normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates.

Eligibility criteria

We are looking for an exceptional student who will thrive amongst successful interdisciplinary groups involved in the project. They should be highly motivated and capable of independent working and with interests in the application of developing technology for health monitoring and supporting wellbeing.  They will be working in both academic and industry environments, though well supported by a range of experts and with the opportunity to use cutting edge equipment. They will need to work directly with both younger participants (e.g. students), as well as older adults. Through being a key part of the Flourish project, there is an excellent opportunity to join well-funded research projects and resulting high quality publications.

Applicants must have a good honours degree (2.1 or equivalent) in relevant biology, health, physiological sciences, psychology and neuroscience, disciplines. A relevant Masters qualification is desirable, but not essential if the applicant has relevant research experience. Applicants should have experience with working with human participants and physiological methods. Some electrophysiological recording experience would be desirable, as is willingness engage with cutting edge technologies such as driving simulators and CAVs. Previous experience of working within a healthcare/hospital environment may also be advantageous. A recognised English language qualification is required.

Participants will be required to work with both young and older participants and so previous experience of working with a range of adults is desirable.

Willingness to engage with a variety of cross-disciplinary researchers, including psychology, biomedicine, computing, robotics and transport is also desirable. Similarly, to embrace the opportunity to work with a variety of hardware and software from conventional recording methods to augmented and virtual reality as well as BCI.

How to apply

Download and complete the application form and send it directly to the UWE Graduate School. Please ensure you include the title of the research project you propose to undertake and detail why you are interested in undertaking this PhD project and what relevant knowledge, experience and qualifications you would bring to the research.

Please also complete the Equal Opportunities form and complete the first section of the Application reference sheet before sending to your nominated referees.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please contact Dr Chris Alford: or Dr Phil Morgan:

Closing date

The closing date for applications is Monday 30 January 2017.

Further information

Interviews will take place week commencing 20 February 2017.

If you have not heard from us by 20 February 2017, we thank you for your application, but do not wish to pursue it on this occasion.

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